We know that in an emergency, it is essential that we put on our own oxygen mask before assisting anyone else. If we aren’t breathing, we won’t be doing anything, never mind assisting someone else. We must put ourselves first. This fact is also true in our every day life. Trust me. I know.
Yet knowing that we need to take care of ourselves first, is often quite different than actually doing it. When was the last time you put yourself first? Today? Last week? Last month? Last year?
I know. You’re going to tell me “it’s not easy”. I am very aware of the excuses too. They can sound something like this: I can’t afford it. I don’t have time. I can’t leave my kids. How selfish! Sound familiar?
Yet, as I said, these are just excuses. These things wouldn’t fly in an emergency and then shouldn’t any other time either. Your physical and emotional health is MOST important. Without your health (physical, emotional, spiritual) you won’t be much good to your kids. Have you ever noticed what a great mirror your kids are? Your kids act up when you are at your worst. Right? I know from my kids behavior when I am running on empty. I bet you do too.
So how do you break through the excuses? Make a decision that taking care of yourself IS a priority. Make a commitment to yourself. Block off time in your calendar that is just for you. Then have fun deciding how to fill this time. Ask yourself “What fills me up? What do I love? What feeds my soul?” You may need to spend some quiet time to really hear the answers. They will come!
Sunshine, sandy beaches, and palm trees are some of the things that really feed my soul. I have been practicing self-care for awhile now and I worked myself up to 10 days in Maui without my kids. Yes, you read that correctly, without kids! Was your first thought “how could she, or how selfish”?
A few years ago, I never would have imagined that I would have taken a trip without my kids. After having just come back from 10 days in Maui, I can tell you, it was one of the best things I ever did. I came back relaxed, energized and feeling “full”. I had time to actually sit and eat and taste my food. I got to read something other than emails. I didn’t have to pack any lunches, drive anyone to school or help with homework. I got to spend 10 days doing what I wanted, eating what I wanted , and going where I wanted. It was heaven!
What about my kids you ask. Well, they managed very well. My kids (21 & 12 years) got along very well. They helped each other out. They realized that they were capable of cooking meals, doing the dishes, looking after the dog and even doing laundry. My son told his friends he was the “single mom” while I was gone. He sounded quite proud of himself when he told me this. They both realized how much mom actually does. Since I’ve been back, they are getting along better and pitching in with chores more often. I’ve heard many more “thanks mom”, which makes me feel appreciated.
I feel like I’ve been filled up. I am able to focus on the present moment, instead of my to do list. I laugh more. I have even been sitting down to eat. I feel more grateful for my life and for my kids. I am so glad I didn’t let the excuses stop me. It came close, but I knew deep down, that it would all be worth it.
Very often we regret the things we didn’t do. I want to live my life with the fewest regrets. If I hadn’t taken this trip, I know I would have regretted it. There are no guarantees in life. If I had put it off until my kids had left home, maybe my health would have stopped me. By grabbing the opportunity now, I was able to fully enjoy it and the memories will keep me filled up for quite some time. I know that I will never regret going!
The time to do something for yourself is NOW! It doesn’t have to take a long time or a lot of money. Start small. Try buying yourself some flowers. Take 30 minutes to enjoy a cup of tea and a good book. Have a bubble bath, maybe with a glass of wine. Go for a bike ride. The list is endless. Remember, self-care, like anything else you are learning, takes practice. The more you treat yourself, the easier it will get and the happier you will be. Remember the saying, “when mamma aint’ happy, ain’t nobody happy”? Well, when you are happier, your kids will be too. That’s the added bonus!! Imagine a home full of happy people!
So….what are you going to do for yourself today? Put it in your calendar in PEN! Then, once you’ve done it, send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me what you did, so I can post a list of ideas for others to try.